Yesterday, I shared an overview and photos of my road trip from Portland to San Francisco. There were a few things and places that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to anyone planning a similar trip. So, here are the best things to do in San Francisco, Portland and everywhere in between!
Things to Do in Portland
If you can travel around the city by bike, do it! It’s such an easy way to see the city and the traffic/cars were not overwhelming like it can be in some cities. We lucked out in booking a hotel that had bikes for their guests to use for free, but Cycle Portland has great reviews on their rentals and tours if you are looking for a recommendation. One of my favorite meals on our whole road trip was brunch at Tasty n Alder. It WOW’d all of us! The family style food was delicious and every dish we tried had such a lovely combination flavors. It’s obvious the chefs really care about the food they serve. On top of that, the prices were not bad and the restaurant had a great Portland vibe!
More things to do in Portland:
- Walk or run along the waterfront.
- Eat doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts.
- Stop by one of Portland’s breweries for a pint. We didn’t have time for this but I have heard Deschutes Brewery is a must!
- Check out the food truck options for lunch.
- Visit the Oregon Maritime Museum.
- Stroll through the Japanese Gardens.
A Must-Do in Oregon
OREGON WINERIES – Located right about 30 miles from Portland, Stoller winery was easily my favorite of the two we visited in Oregon. One thing to keep in mind — some wineries in Oregon and California cater more towards their wine club members. The first winery we went to, Bergstrom, was like this. At that winery only members could bring food, and what was available to visitors was limited. I was not expecting some wineries to be like that, but thankfully the second winery we went to, Stoller, was not like this. It was a stunning haven for travelers and visitors. Their wine tasting was great quality and included several wines that have high ratings. They also had a assortment of cheese and meats which helped hold us over until dinner.
Things to Do in San Francisco
This city has a lot to offer and so much to take in. Our dinner at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar was my favorite meal of our road trip. Everything we ordered at this French restaurant was fabulous. They also served absinthe and several creative cocktails, which were both pretty and delicious. San Francisco has tons of our tours to choose from as well, but I recommend booking those in advance. Some of the bay cruises and popular Alcatraz tours were selling tickets two weeks out. We ended up doing a bay cruise that gave us great views of the city. It is definitely a good thing to do after a day of walking around the city.
The best tour we had on this trip was the San Francisco Love Tour. This tour took us all over the city in a decked out VW van that played 60s music the whole time. One thing that made this tour so nice was that it was a more personal experience than a tour in a giant bus with 70 people. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable of the city as well–none of our questions were left unanswered!
More things to do in San Francisco:
- Visit Alcatraz. You can easily combine this with a bay cruise.
- See the street from Full House. We saw this on the Love Tour!
- Stop by the original Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate shop in Ghiradelli Square. You know I did this!
- Check out the Fisherman’s Wharf and waterfront.
- Go to the Palace of Fine Arts.
- Visit Golden Gate Park.
- Check out the Cable Car Museum. We loved seeing how the cable cars work!
If you are visiting San Francisco, take advantage of the city’s proximity to California wine country and plan to have at least one full day to check it out!
CALIFORNIA WINERIES – Hands down, my favorite winery of the whole trip was Chateau Montelena. We had a fabulous time from the moment we got there and our wine tasting was everything I hoped a wine tasting would be (seriously)! The staff was very knowledgable and told us the story of how the winery’s Chardonnay beat out French wines in a historic blind tasting. That event changed how the world viewed California’s wine. We did a couple other wine tastings in Sonoma and Napa and spent a night out there to really get a feel for the culture there.
In addition to these places, the Oregon coastline and Redwood forests should be must-dos on your list if you are visiting the Pacific Northwest. The scenery was truly stunning, so get outside and explore if you are visiting the area.
I’d love to hear about your experiences traveling to the same area. Do you have additional recommendations or tips?